Correctional Sgt. Robert Clayton of the Office of Correctional Safety’s Gang Intelligence Operations in Fresno recently helped make good the promise that this nation will not forget the service and sacrifice of its military veterans.
Sgt. Clayton escorted a veteran of World War II and the Korean War as part of the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization created to honor America’s veterans.
Honor Flight provides veterans with a “Tour of Honor” by transporting veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect in front of the nation’s memorials.
Sgt. Clayton was assigned to Thomas Martin, who served in the Navy during WWII and in the Marines during the Korean War. Sgt. Clayton escorted the veteran throughout the visit to Washington June 24-26.
Sixty-eight veterans from ages 86 to 99 were in Sgt. Clayton’s group.
“The trip for me was unforgettable,” Sgt. Clayton said. “I volunteered in an effort to give back to one of history’s greatest generations. What they and their families were asked to do for our country will never be forgotten.
“I was honored to be able to pay tribute to their bravery and sacrifices” Sgt. Clayton said. “One of the highlights of the trip was seeing school children and people of all nationalities approach the veterans and thank them for their service. I don’t think these real American heroes ever stopped smiling throughout the entire trip.”
Sgt. Clayton paid for the cost of his trip. The Honor Flight Network is a 100 percent volunteer effort.
The Honor Flight Network, www.honorflight.org, is currently accepting applications from all WWII veterans who served during 1941 through 1946. The program will naturally transition to Korean War, Vietnam War and all other veterans who served, on a chronological basis.
The group has 133 active Honor Flight Hubs that serve 42 states. Last year, the group flew more than 117,000 to Washington, D.C.
Donations can be made at www.cvhonorflight.org or by mailing a check payable to Fresno Regional Foundation with “Central Valley Honor Flight” written on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Fresno Regional Foundation, 5250 N. Palm Ave. #424, Fresno, CA 93704.
Here are the California hubs:
Bay Area Honor Flight, San Jose, www.honorflightbayarea.org. Flies from San Francisco and San Jose international airports. Contact Carl Stewart or John Armenta at (408) 925-1999.
Central Valley Honor Flight, Fresno, www.cvhonorflight.org. Flies from Fresno Yosemite International Airport. Contact Al Perry at (559) 970-9853 or Paul Loeffler at (559) 285-5975.
Honor Flight Central Coast California Inc., Paso Robles. Flies from San Luis Obispo County Regional and Santa Maria Public airports. Contact Bear McGill at (805) 610-4012 or Richard Powell at (805) 440-1551.
Honor Flight Kern County, Bakersfield, www.honorflightkerncounty.org. Flies from Meadows Field Airport. Contact Lili Marsh at (661) 303-3837 or Lori Crown at (661) 333-1001.
Honor Flight of Northern California, Anderson, www.honorflightnorcal.org/. Flies from San Francisco and Sacramento international airports. Contact Debbi Johnson or Tom Johnson at (530) 357-3380.
Honor Flight of the Inland Empire, Riverside, www.honorflightie.org. Flies from Ontario International, John Wayne, Los Angeles International and Bob Hope Burbank airports. Contact Mike McElroy at (951) 317-6334 or Herbert Williams at 9951) 275-4448.
Honor Flight of San Diego, www.honorflightsandiego.org/. Flies form San Diego International Airport. Contact Dave Smith at (858) 484-9112 or Jeff Hall at (858) 837-2895.
Honor Flight Southland, Dove Canyon, www.honorflightsouthland.org/. Flies from Ontario International Airport. Contact Craig Van Doren at (949) 310-6143 or Doreen Harrison at (909) 900-8700.
North Coast Honor Flight, Eureka, www.northcoasthonorflight.org/. Flies from Sacramento and Oakland international airports. Contact Gregg Gardiner (707) 443-4880 or Steve Justus at (707) 822-7251.